The first is to talk about a time you questioned a person or group on an idea of theirs. The second is to talk about a time that something caused you to reconsider a belief of your own. In either case, you need to explain why you decided the belief should be challenged, what you actually did —if your story is just that someone gave you a new piece of information and you changed your mind, you should probably find a different topic— and how you feel about your actions in hindsight.
The obvious question this prompt raises is what your values are and whether you're willing to stand up for what you believe. Whether you've reconsidered your own beliefs or asked others to reconsider theirs, it shows you've put genuine thought into what you value and why. However, colleges also want to see that you're open minded and able to be fair and kind toward those who have different beliefs than you do.
Can you question someone else's beliefs without belittling them? If not, don't choose this prompt. This prompt is really one where you either have a relevant story or you don't. If there's a belief or idea that's particularly important to you, whether political or personal, this might be a good question for you to address. The main pitfall with this question is that it lends itself to very abstract answers.
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It's not that interesting to read about how you used to believe chocolate is the best ice cream flavor but then changed your mind and decided the best flavor is actually strawberry. Seriously, though, what is wrong with you!? Make sure there's clear conflict and action in your essay. Divisive political issues, such as abortion and gun rights, are tricky to write about although not impossible because people feel very strongly about them and often have a hard time accepting the opposite viewpoint.
Common Application Essay Prompts: Tips, Samples
In general, I would avoid these kinds of topics unless you have a highly compelling story. Also, keep in mind that most people who work at colleges are liberal, so if you have a conservative viewpoint, you'll need to tread more carefully. Regardless of what you're writing about, don't assume that the reader shares your views. Finally, you want to avoid coming off as petty or inflexible , especially if you're writing about a controversial topic.
It's great to have strong beliefs, but you also want to show that you're open to listening to other people's perspectives, even if they don't change your mind. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. The first part is very straightforward: how have you or would you solve a problem? However, you also need to "explain its significance to you.
This prompt helps admissions officers see both what you care about and how you solve problems. Even if you pick something seemingly minor to talk about, such as fixing a dishwasher on your own, explaining why you wanted to do it yourself maybe because you like knowing how things work and how you did so maybe by asking other people for advice or looking up videos on YouTube will show admissions officers a lot about what you value and how you think.
Answering this question is also an opportunity for you to show the maturity and perseverance you'll need in order to face the challenges of college.
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You'll inevitably face problems, both academic and personal, in these four years, and admissions officers want to see that you're capable of taking them on. Any kind of problem "no matter the scale" is fine—it just has to be important to you. Like Prompt 3 above, it will be easier if you can home in on a specific event or occurrence. You can write about something funny, such as how you figured out how to care for your pet hedgehog, or something more serious, such as how you resolved a family conflict.
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Writing about a problem you want to solve, rather than one you've already found a solution to, is much harder because it's more abstract. You certainly can do it, however; just make sure to have a compelling and concrete explanation for why this problem is important to you and how you came upon the solution you're proposing. For example, say a student, Tommy, wanted to solve the problem of homelessness. First of all, because this is a very big problem that no one person or solution is going to fix, he would need to describe specifically what problem within the larger issue he wants to address.
Then, in writing his essay, he might focus on telling a story about how a man he met while volunteering at a homeless shelter inspired his idea to hire men and women living in shelters to work as liaisons in public spaces like libraries and parks to help homeless people get access to the services they need. Avoid anything sweeping or general : for example, "How I plan to solve world hunger" is probably not going to work.
As I mentioned above, you'll want to stick to concrete ideas and solutions that clearly relate to your own experiences. Simply writing down some of your ideas, no matter how great they are, isn't going to make for a very interesting essay. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Like Prompt 1, this one is very general. It's asking you to talk about something you did or something that happened that caused you to grow or mature as a person. The other key point to remember when addressing this question is that you need to explain how this event changed or enriched your understanding of yourself or other people. In short: when and how have you grown as a person? Personal growth and maturity are complicated issues. Your essay might touch on themes such as personal responsibility and your role in the world and your community.
You don't have to explain your whole worldview, but you need to give readers a sense of why this particular event caused significant growth for you as a person.
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This prompt can also help you show either your own sense of self-concept or how you relate to others. Much like Prompt 3, this question likely either appeals to you or doesn't. Nonetheless, here are some potential topics:. It's important that your topic describes a transition that led to real positive growth or change in you as a person.
However, personal growth is a gradual process, and you can definitely still approach this topic if you feel you have more maturing to do. Fun fact: most adults feel they have more maturing to do, too! Just focus on a specific step in the process of growing up and explain what it meant to you and how you've changed. Almost any topic could theoretically make a good essay about personal growth, but it's important that the overall message conveys maturity. If the main point of your essay about junior prom is that you learned you look bad in purple and now you know not to wear it, you'll seem like you just haven't had a lot of meaningful growth experiences in your life.
You also want the personal growth and new understanding s you describe in your essay to be positive in nature. If the conclusion of your essay is "and that's how I matured and realized that everyone in the world is terrible," that's not going to work very well with admissions committees, as you'll seem pessimistic and unable to cope with challenges.
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Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?
What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This prompt is asking you to describe something you're intellectually passionate about. But in addition to describing a topic of personal fascination and why you're so interested in it, you need to detail how you have pursued furthering your own knowledge of the topic. Did you undertake extra study?
Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them)
Hole yourself up in the library? Ask your math team coach for more practice problems? Colleges want to admit students who are intellectually engaged with the world. They want you to show that you have a genuine love for the pursuit of knowledge. Additionally, by describing how you've learned more about your chosen topic, concept, or idea, you can prove that you are self-motivated and resourceful. Pretty much any topic you're really interested in and passionate about could make a good essay here, just as long as you can put can put an intellectual spin on it and demonstrate that you've gone out of your way to learn about the topic.
So It's fine to say that the topic that engages you most is football, but talk about what interests you in an academic sense about the sport. Have you learned everything there is to know about the history of the sport? Are you an expert on football statistics? Emphasize how the topic you are writing about engages your brain.
http://cadivus.co.uk/chasing-rainbows.php Don't pick something you don't actually care about just because you think it would sound good. If you say you love black holes but actually hate them and tortured yourself with astronomy books in the library for a weekend to glean enough knowledge to write your essay, your lack of enthusiasm will definitely come through. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Since this is a choose-your-own-adventure prompt, colleges aren't looking for anything specific to this prompt. However, you'll want to demonstrate some of the same qualities that colleges are looking for in all college essays: things like academic passion, maturity, resourcefulness, and persistence. What are your values?
How do you face setbacks? These are all things you can consider touching on in your essay. If you already have a topic in mind for this one that doesn't really fit with any of the other prompts, go for it! Avoid essays that aren't really about you as a person. However, if you want to write about the way that "Ode on a Grecian Urn" made you reconsider your entire approach to life, go ahead. We can help.